position:brig. gen.

  • Burying the Nakba: How Israel systematically hides evidence of 1948 expulsion of Arabs
    By Hagar Shezaf Jul 05, 2019 - Israel News - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-how-israel-systematically-hides-evidence-of-1948-expulsio

    International forces overseeing the evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/Israel State Archives

    Four years ago, historian Tamar Novick was jolted by a document she found in the file of Yosef Vashitz, from the Arab Department of the left-wing Mapam Party, in the Yad Yaari archive at Givat Haviva. The document, which seemed to describe events that took place during the 1948 war, began:

    “Safsaf [former Palestinian village near Safed] – 52 men were caught, tied them to one another, dug a pit and shot them. 10 were still twitching. Women came, begged for mercy. Found bodies of 6 elderly men. There were 61 bodies. 3 cases of rape, one east of from Safed, girl of 14, 4 men shot and killed. From one they cut off his fingers with a knife to take the ring.”

    The writer goes on to describe additional massacres, looting and abuse perpetrated by Israeli forces in Israel’s War of Independence. “There’s no name on the document and it’s not clear who’s behind it,” Dr. Novick tells Haaretz. “It also breaks off in the middle. I found it very disturbing. I knew that finding a document like this made me responsible for clarifying what happened.”

    The Upper Galilee village of Safsaf was captured by the Israel Defense Forces in Operation Hiram toward the end of 1948. Moshav Safsufa was established on its ruins. Allegations were made over the years that the Seventh Brigade committed war crimes in the village. Those charges are supported by the document Novick found, which was not previously known to scholars. It could also constitute additional evidence that the Israeli top brass knew about what was going on in real time.

    Novick decided to consult with other historians about the document. Benny Morris, whose books are basic texts in the study of the Nakba – the “calamity,” as the Palestinians refer to the mass emigration of Arabs from the country during the 1948 war – told her that he, too, had come across similar documentation in the past. He was referring to notes made by Mapam Central Committee member Aharon Cohen on the basis of a briefing given in November 1948 by Israel Galili, the former chief of staff of the Haganah militia, which became the IDF. Cohen’s notes in this instance, which Morris published, stated: “Safsaf 52 men tied with a rope. Dropped into a pit and shot. 10 were killed. Women pleaded for mercy. [There were] 3 cases of rape. Caught and released. A girl of 14 was raped. Another 4 were killed. Rings of knives.”

    Morris’ footnote (in his seminal “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949”) states that this document was also found in the Yad Yaari Archive. But when Novick returned to examine the document, she was surprised to discover that it was no longer there.

    Palestine refugees initially displaced to Gaza board boats to Lebanon or Egypt, in 1949. Hrant Nakashian/1949 UN Archives

    “At first I thought that maybe Morris hadn’t been accurate in his footnote, that perhaps he had made a mistake,” Novick recalls. “It took me time to consider the possibility that the document had simply disappeared.” When she asked those in charge where the document was, she was told that it had been placed behind lock and key at Yad Yaari – by order of the Ministry of Defense.

    Since the start of the last decade, Defense Ministry teams have been scouring Israel’s archives and removing historic documents. But it’s not just papers relating to Israel’s nuclear project or to the country’s foreign relations that are being transferred to vaults: Hundreds of documents have been concealed as part of a systematic effort to hide evidence of the Nakba.

    The phenomenon was first detected by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. According to a report drawn up by the institute, the operation is being spearheaded by Malmab, the Defense Ministry’s secretive security department (the name is a Hebrew acronym for “director of security of the defense establishment”), whose activities and budget are classified. The report asserts that Malmab removed historical documentation illegally and with no authority, and at least in some cases has sealed documents that had previously been cleared for publication by the military censor. Some of the documents that were placed in vaults had already been published.
    An investigative report by Haaretz found that Malmab has concealed testimony from IDF generals about the killing of civilians and the demolition of villages, as well as documentation of the expulsion of Bedouin during the first decade of statehood. Conversations conducted by Haaretz with directors of public and private archives alike revealed that staff of the security department had treated the archives as their property, in some cases threatening the directors themselves.

    Yehiel Horev, who headed Malmab for two decades, until 2007, acknowledged to Haaretz that he launched the project, which is still ongoing. He maintains that it makes sense to conceal the events of 1948, because uncovering them could generate unrest among the country’s Arab population. Asked what the point is of removing documents that have already been published, he explained that the objective is to undermine the credibility of studies about the history of the refugee problem. In Horev’s view, an allegation made by a researcher that’s backed up by an original document is not the same as an allegation that cannot be proved or refuted.

    The document Novick was looking for might have reinforced Morris’ work. During the investigation, Haaretz was in fact able to find the Aharon Cohen memo, which sums up a meeting of Mapam’s Political Committee on the subject of massacres and expulsions in 1948. Participants in the meeting called for cooperation with a commission of inquiry that would investigate the events. One case the committee discussed concerned “grave actions” carried out in the village of Al-Dawayima, east of Kiryat Gat. One participant mentioned the then-disbanded Lehi underground militia in this connection. Acts of looting were also reported: “Lod and Ramle, Be’er Sheva, there isn’t [an Arab] store that hasn’t been broken into. 9th Brigade says 7, 7th Brigade says 8.”
    “The party,” the document states near the end, “is against expulsion if there is no military necessity for it. There are different approaches concerning the evaluation of necessity. And further clarification is best. What happened in Galilee – those are Nazi acts! Every one of our members must report what he knows.”

    The Israeli version
    One of the most fascinating documents about the origin of the Palestinian refugee problem was written by an officer in Shai, the precursor to the Shin Bet security service. It discusses why the country was emptied of so many of its Arab inhabitants, dwelling on the circumstances of each village. Compiled in late June 1948, it was titled “The Emigration of the Arabs of Palestine.”

    Read a translation of the document here (1)

    This document was the basis for an article that Benny Morris published in 1986. After the article appeared, the document was removed from the archive and rendered inaccessible to researchers. Years later, the Malmab team reexamined the document, and ordered that it remain classified. They could not have known that a few years later researchers from Akevot would find a copy of the text and run it past the military censors – who authorized its publication unconditionally. Now, after years of concealment, the gist of the document is being revealed here.

    The 25-page document begins with an introduction that unabashedly approves of the evacuation of the Arab villages. According to the author, the month of April “excelled in an increase of emigration,” while May “was blessed with the evacuation of maximum places.” The report then addresses “the causes of the Arab emigration.” According to the Israeli narrative that was disseminated over the years, responsibility for the exodus from Israel rests with Arab politicians who encouraged the population to leave. However, according to the document, 70 percent of the Arabs left as a result of Jewish military operations.

    Palestinian children awaiting distribution of milk by UNICEF at the Nazareth Franciscan Sisters’ convent, on January 1, 1950. AW / UN Photo

    The unnamed author of the text ranks the reasons for the Arabs’ departure in order of importance. The first reason: “Direct Jewish acts of hostility against Arab places of settlement.” The second reason was the impact of those actions on neighboring villages. Third in importance came “operations by the breakaways,” namely the Irgun and Lehi undergrounds. The fourth reason for the Arab exodus was orders issued by Arab institutions and “gangs” (as the document refers to all Arab fighting groups); fifth was “Jewish ’whispering operations’ to induce the Arab inhabitants to flee”; and the sixth factor was “evacuation ultimatums.”

    The author asserts that, “without a doubt, the hostile operations were the main cause of the movement of the population.” In addition, “Loudspeakers in the Arabic language proved their effectiveness on the occasions when they were utilized properly.” As for Irgun and Lehi operations, the report observes that “many in the villages of central Galilee started to flee following the abduction of the notables of Sheikh Muwannis [a village north of Tel Aviv]. The Arab learned that it is not enough to forge an agreement with the Haganah and that there are other Jews [i.e., the breakaway militias] to beware of.”

    The author notes that ultimatums to leave were especially employed in central Galilee, less so in the Mount Gilboa region. “Naturally, the act of this ultimatum, like the effect of the ’friendly advice,’ came after a certain preparing of the ground by means of hostile actions in the area.”
    An appendix to the document describes the specific causes of the exodus from each of scores of Arab locales: Ein Zeitun – “our destruction of the village”; Qeitiya – “harassment, threat of action”; Almaniya – “our action, many killed”; Tira – “friendly Jewish advice”; Al’Amarir – “after robbery and murder carried out by the breakaways”; Sumsum – “our ultimatum”; Bir Salim – “attack on the orphanage”; and Zarnuga – “conquest and expulsion.”

    Short fuse
    In the early 2000s, the Yitzhak Rabin Center conducted a series of interviews with former public and military figures as part of a project to document their activity in the service of the state. The long arm of Malmab seized on these interviews, too. Haaretz, which obtained the original texts of several of the interviews, compared them to the versions that are now available to the public, after large swaths of them were declared classified.

    These included, for example, sections of the testimony of Brig. Gen. (res.) Aryeh Shalev about the expulsion across the border of the residents of a village he called “Sabra.” Later in the interview, the following sentences were deleted: “There was a very serious problem in the valley. There were refugees who wanted to return to the valley, to the Triangle [a concentration of Arab towns and villages in eastern Israel]. We expelled them. I met with them to persuade them not to want that. I have papers about it.”

    In another case, Malmab decided to conceal the following segment from an interview that historian Boaz Lev Tov conducted with Maj. Gen. (res.) Elad Peled:
    Lev Tov: “We’re talking about a population – women and children?”
    Peled: “All, all. Yes.”
    Lev Tov: “Don’t you distinguish between them?”
    Peled: “The problem is very simple. The war is between two populations. They come out of their home.”
    Lev Tov: “If the home exists, they have somewhere to return to?”
    Peled: “It’s not armies yet, it’s gangs. We’re also actually gangs. We come out of the house and return to the house. They come out of the house and return to the house. It’s either their house or our house.”
    Lev Tov: “Qualms belong to the more recent generation?”
    Peled: “Yes, today. When I sit in an armchair here and think about what happened, all kinds of thoughts come to mind.”
    Lev Tov: “Wasn’t that the case then?”
    Peled: “Look, let me tell you something even less nice and cruel, about the big raid in Sasa [Palestinian village in Upper Galilee]. The goal was actually to deter them, to tell them, ‘Dear friends, the Palmach [the Haganah “shock troops”] can reach every place, you are not immune.’ That was the heart of the Arab settlement. But what did we do? My platoon blew up 20 homes with everything that was there.”
    Lev Tov: “While people were sleeping there?”
    Peled: “I suppose so. What happened there, we came, we entered the village, planted a bomb next to every house, and afterward Homesh blew on a trumpet, because we didn’t have radios, and that was the signal [for our forces] to leave. We’re running in reverse, the sappers stay, they pull, it’s all primitive. They light the fuse or pull the detonator and all those houses are gone.”

    IDF soldiers guarding Palestinians in Ramle, in 1948. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    Another passage that the Defense Ministry wanted to keep from the public came from Dr. Lev Tov’s conversation with Maj. Gen. Avraham Tamir:
    Tamir: “I was under Chera [Maj. Gen. Tzvi Tzur, later IDF chief of staff], and I had excellent working relations with him. He gave me freedom of action – don’t ask – and I happened to be in charge of staff and operations work during two developments deriving from [Prime Minister David] Ben-Gurion’s policy. One development was when reports arrived about marches of refugees from Jordan toward the abandoned villages [in Israel]. And then Ben-Gurion lays down as policy that we have to demolish [the villages] so they won’t have anywhere to return to. That is, all the Arab villages, most of which were in [the area covered by] Central Command, most of them.”
    Lev Tov: “The ones that were still standing?”
    Tamir: “The ones that weren’t yet inhabited by Israelis. There were places where we had already settled Israelis, like Zakariyya and others. But most of them were still abandoned villages.”
    Lev Tov: “That were standing?”
    Tamir: “Standing. It was necessary for there to be no place for them to return to, so I mobilized all the engineering battalions of Central Command, and within 48 hours I knocked all those villages to the ground. Period. There’s no place to return to.”
    Lev Tov: “Without hesitation, I imagine.”
    Tamir: “Without hesitation. That was the policy. I mobilized, I carried it out and I did it.”

    Crates in vaults
    The vault of the Yad Yaari Research and Documentation Center is one floor below ground level. In the vault, which is actually a small, well-secured room, are stacks of crates containing classified documents. The archive houses the materials of the Hashomer Hatzair movement, the Kibbutz Ha’artzi kibbutz movement, Mapam, Meretz and other bodies, such as Peace Now.
    The archive’s director is Dudu Amitai, who is also chairman of the Association of Israel Archivists. According to Amitai, Malmab personnel visited the archive regularly between 2009 and 2011. Staff of the archive relate that security department teams – two Defense Ministry retirees with no archival training – would show up two or three times a week. They searched for documents according to such keywords as “nuclear,” “security” and “censorship,” and also devoted considerable time to the War of Independence and the fate of the pre-1948 Arab villages.
    “In the end, they submitted a summary to us, saying that they had located a few dozen sensitive documents,” Amitai says. “We don’t usually take apart files, so dozens of files, in their entirety, found their way into our vault and were removed from the public catalog.” A file might contain more than 100 documents.
    One of the files that was sealed deals with the military government that controlled the lives of Israel’s Arab citizens from 1948 until 1966. For years, the documents were stored in the same vault, inaccessible to scholars. Recently, in the wake of a request by Prof. Gadi Algazi, a historian from Tel Aviv University, Amitai examined the file himself and ruled that there was no reason not to unseal it, Malmab’s opinion notwithstanding.

    According to Algazi, there could be several reasons for Malmab’s decision to keep the file classified. One of them has to do with a secret annex it contains to a report by a committee that examined the operation of the military government. The report deals almost entirely with land-ownership battles between the state and Arab citizens, and barely touches on security matters.

    Another possibility is a 1958 report by the ministerial committee that oversaw the military government. In one of the report’s secret appendixes, Col. Mishael Shaham, a senior officer in the military government, explains that one reason for not dismantling the martial law apparatus is the need to restrict Arab citizens’ access to the labor market and to prevent the reestablishment of destroyed villages.
    A third possible explanation for hiding the file concerns previously unpublished historical testimony about the expulsion of Bedouin. On the eve of Israel’s establishment, nearly 100,000 Bedouin lived in the Negev. Three years later, their number was down to 13,000. In the years during and after the independence war, a number of expulsion operations were carried out in the country’s south. In one case, United Nations observers reported that Israel had expelled 400 Bedouin from the Azazma tribe and cited testimonies of tents being burned. The letter that appears in the classified file describes a similar expulsion carried out as late as 1956, as related by geologist Avraham Parnes:

    The evacuation of Iraq al-Manshiyya, near today’s Kiryat Gat, in March, 1949. Collection of Benno Rothenberg/The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “A month ago we toured Ramon [crater]. The Bedouin in the Mohila area came to us with their flocks and their families and asked us to break bread with them. I replied that we had a great deal of work to do and didn’t have time. In our visit this week, we headed toward Mohila again. Instead of the Bedouin and their flocks, there was deathly silence. Scores of camel carcasses were scattered in the area. We learned that three days earlier the IDF had ‘screwed’ the Bedouin, and their flocks were destroyed – the camels by shooting, the sheep with grenades. One of the Bedouin, who started to complain, was killed, the rest fled.”

    The testimony continued, “Two weeks earlier, they’d been ordered to stay where they were for the time being, afterward they were ordered to leave, and to speed things up 500 head were slaughtered.... The expulsion was executed ‘efficiently.’” The letter goes on to quote what one of the soldiers said to Parnes, according to his testimony: “They won’t go unless we’ve screwed their flocks. A young girl of about 16 approached us. She had a beaded necklace of brass snakes. We tore the necklace and each of us took a bead for a souvenir.”

    The letter was originally sent to MK Yaakov Uri, from Mapai (forerunner of Labor), who passed it on to Development Minister Mordechai Bentov (Mapam). “His letter shocked me,” Uri wrote Bentov. The latter circulated the letter among all the cabinet ministers, writing, “It is my opinion that the government cannot simply ignore the facts related in the letter.” Bentov added that, in light of the appalling contents of the letter, he asked security experts to check its credibility. They had confirmed that the contents “do in fact generally conform to the truth.”

    Nuclear excuse
    It was during the tenure of historian Tuvia Friling as Israel’s chief archivist, from 2001 to 2004, that Malmab carried out its first archival incursions. What began as an operation to prevent the leakage of nuclear secrets, he says, became, in time, a large-scale censorship project.
    “I resigned after three years, and that was one of the reasons,” Prof. Friling says. “The classification placed on the document about the Arabs’ emigration in 1948 is precisely an example of what I was apprehensive about. The storage and archival system is not an arm of the state’s public relations. If there’s something you don’t like – well, that’s life. A healthy society also learns from its mistakes.”

    Why did Friling allow the Defense Ministry to have access the archives? The reason, he says, was the intention to give the public access to archival material via the internet. In discussions about the implications of digitizing the material, concern was expressed that references in the documents to a “certain topic” would be made public by mistake. The topic, of course, is Israel’s nuclear project. Friling insists that the only authorization Malmab received was to search for documents on that subject.

    But Malmab’s activity is only one example of a broader problem, Friling notes: “In 1998, the confidentiality of the [oldest documents in the] Shin Bet and Mossad archives expired. For years those two institutions disdained the chief archivist. When I took over, they requested that the confidentiality of all the material be extended [from 50] to 70 years, which is ridiculous – most of the material can be opened.”

    In 2010, the confidentiality period was extended to 70 years; last February it was extended again, to 90 years, despite the opposition of the Supreme Council of Archives. “The state may impose confidentiality on some of its documentation,” Friling says. “The question is whether the issue of security doesn’t act as a kind of cover. In many cases, it’s already become a joke.”
    In the view of Yad Yaari’s Dudu Amitai, the confidentiality imposed by the Defense Ministry must be challenged. In his period at the helm, he says, one of the documents placed in the vault was an order issued by an IDF general, during a truce in the War of Independence, for his troops to refrain from rape and looting. Amitai now intends to go over the documents that were deposited in the vault, especially 1948 documents, and open whatever is possible. “We’ll do it cautiously and responsibly, but recognizing that the State of Israel has to learn how to cope with the less pleasant aspects of its history.”
    In contrast to Yad Yaari, where ministry personnel no longer visit, they are continuing to peruse documents at Yad Tabenkin, the research and documentation center of the United Kibbutz Movement. The director, Aharon Azati, reached an agreement with the Malmab teams under which documents will be transferred to the vault only if he is convinced that this is justified. But in Yad Tabenkin, too, Malmab has broadened its searches beyond the realm of nuclear project to encompass interviews conducted by archival staff with former members of the Palmach, and has even perused material about the history of the settlements in the occupied territories.

    Malmab has, for example, shown interest in the Hebrew-language book “A Decade of Discretion: Settlement Policy in the Territories 1967-1977,” published by Yad Tabenkin in 1992, and written by Yehiel Admoni, director of the Jewish Agency’s Settlement Department during the decade he writes about. The book mentions a plan to settle Palestinian refugees in the Jordan Valley and to the uprooting of 1,540 Bedouin families from the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip in 1972, including an operation that included the sealing of wells by the IDF. Ironically, in the case of the Bedouin, Admoni quotes former Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira as saying, “It is not necessary to stretch the security rationale too far. The whole Bedouin episode is not a glorious chapter of the State of Israel.”

    Palestinian refugees leaving their village, unknown location, 1948. UNRWA

    According to Azati, “We are moving increasingly to a tightening of the ranks. Although this is an era of openness and transparency, there are apparently forces that are pulling in the opposite direction.”
    Unauthorized secrecy
    About a year ago, the legal adviser to the State Archives, attorney Naomi Aldouby, wrote an opinion titled “Files Closed Without Authorization in Public Archives.” According to her, the accessibility policy of public archives is the exclusive purview of the director of each institution.
    Despite Aldouby’s opinion, however, in the vast majority of cases, archivists who encountered unreasonable decisions by Malmab did not raise objections – that is, until 2014, when Defense Ministry personnel arrived at the archive of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. To the visitors’ surprise, their request to examine the archive – which contains collections of former minister and diplomat Abba Eban and Maj. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Gazit – was turned down by its then director, Menahem Blondheim.

    According to Blondheim, “I told them that the documents in question were decades old, and that I could not imagine that there was any security problem that would warrant restricting their access to researchers. In response, they said, ‘And let’s say there is testimony here that wells were poisoned in the War of Independence?’ I replied, ‘Fine, those people should be brought to trial.’”
    Blondheim’s refusal led to a meeting with a more senior ministry official, only this time the attitude he encountered was different and explicit threats were made. Finally the two sides reached an accommodation.
    Benny Morris is not surprised at Malmab’s activity. “I knew about it,” he says “Not officially, no one informed me, but I encountered it when I discovered that documents I had seen in the past are now sealed. There were documents from the IDF Archive that I used for an article about Deir Yassin, and which are now sealed. When I came to the archive, I was no longer allowed to see the original, so I pointed out in a footnote [in the article] that the State Archive had denied access to documents that I had published 15 years earlier.”
    The Malmab case is only one example of the battle being waged for access to archives in Israel. According to the executive director of the Akevot Institute, Lior Yavne, “The IDF Archive, which is the largest archive in Israel, is sealed almost hermetically. About 1 percent of the material is open. The Shin Bet archive, which contains materials of immense importance [to scholars], is totally closed apart from a handful of documents.”

    A report written by Yaacov Lozowick, the previous chief archivist at the State Archives, upon his retirement, refers to the defense establishment’s grip on the country’s archival materials. In it, he writes, “A democracy must not conceal information because it is liable to embarrass the state. In practice, the security establishment in Israel, and to a certain extent that of foreign relations as well, are interfering with the [public] discussion.”

    Advocates of concealment put forward several arguments, Lozowick notes: “The uncovering of the facts could provide our enemies with a battering ram against us and weaken the determination of our friends; it’s liable to stir up the Arab population; it could enfeeble the state’s arguments in courts of law; and what is revealed could be interpreted as Israeli war crimes.” However, he says, “All these arguments must be rejected. This is an attempt to hide part of the historical truth in order to construct a more convenient version.”

    What Malmab says
    Yehiel Horev was the keeper of the security establishment’s secrets for more than two decades. He headed the Defense Ministry’s security department from 1986 until 2007 and naturally kept out of the limelight. To his credit, he now agreed to talk forthrightly to Haaretz about the archives project.
    “I don’t remember when it began,” Horev says, “but I do know that I started it. If I’m not mistaken, it started when people wanted to publish documents from the archives. We had to set up teams to examine all outgoing material.”
    From conversations with archive directors, it’s clear that a good deal of the documents on which confidentiality was imposed relate to the War of Independence. Is concealing the events of 1948 part of the purpose of Malmab?

    Palestinian refugees in the Ramle area, 1948. Boris Carmi / The IDF and Defense Establishment Archives

    “What does ‘part of the purpose’ mean? The subject is examined based on an approach of whether it could harm Israel’s foreign relations and the defense establishment. Those are the criteria. I think it’s still relevant. There has not been peace since 1948. I may be wrong, but to the best of my knowledge the Arab-Israeli conflict has not been resolved. So yes, it could be that problematic subjects remain.”

    Asked in what way such documents might be problematic, Horev speaks of the possibility of agitation among the country’s Arab citizens. From his point of view, every document must be perused and every case decided on its merits.

    If the events of 1948 weren’t known, we could argue about whether this approach is the right one. That is not the case. Many testimonies and studies have appeared about the history of the refugee problem. What’s the point of hiding things?
    “The question is whether it can do harm or not. It’s a very sensitive matter. Not everything has been published about the refugee issue, and there are all kinds of narratives. Some say there was no flight at all, only expulsion. Others say there was flight. It’s not black-and-white. There’s a difference between flight and those who say they were forcibly expelled. It’s a different picture. I can’t say now if it merits total confidentiality, but it’s a subject that definitely has to be discussed before a decision is made about what to publish.”

    For years, the Defense Ministry has imposed confidentiality on a detailed document that describes the reasons for the departure of those who became refugees. Benny Morris has already written about the document, so what’s the logic of keeping it hidden?
    “I don’t remember the document you’re referring to, but if he quoted from it and the document itself is not there [i.e., where Morris says it is], then his facts aren’t strong. If he says, ‘Yes, I have the document,’ I can’t argue with that. But if he says that it’s written there, that could be right and it could be wrong. If the document were already outside and were sealed in the archive, I would say that that’s folly. But if someone quoted from it – there’s a difference of day and night in terms of the validity of the evidence he cited.”

    In this case, we’re talking about the most quoted scholar when it comes to the Palestinian refugees.
    “The fact that you say ‘scholar’ makes no impression on me. I know people in academia who spout nonsense about subjects that I know from A to Z. When the state imposes confidentiality, the published work is weakened, because he doesn’t have the document.”

    But isn’t concealing documents based on footnotes in books an attempt to lock the barn door after the horses have bolted?
    “I gave you an example that this needn’t be the case. If someone writes that the horse is black, if the horse isn’t outside the barn, you can’t prove that it’s really black.”

    There are legal opinions stating that Malmab’s activity in the archives is illegal and unauthorized.
    “If I know that an archive contains classified material, I am empowered to tell the police to go there and confiscate the material. I can also utilize the courts. I don’t need the archivist’s authorization. If there is classified material, I have the authority to act. Look, there’s policy. Documents aren’t sealed for no reason. And despite it all, I won’t say to you that everything that’s sealed is 100 percent justified [in being sealed].”

    The Defense Ministry refused to respond to specific questions regarding the findings of this investigative report and made do with the following response: “The director of security of the defense establishment operates by virtue of his responsibility to protect the state’s secrets and its security assets. The Malmab does not provide details about its mode of activity or its missions.”

    Lee Rotbart assisted in providing visual research for this article.

    (1) https://www.haaretz.co.il/st/inter/Heng/1948.pdf

  • Comment Israël arme les dictatures à travers le monde

    Arming dictators, equipping pariahs: Alarming picture of Israel’s arms sales - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    Extensive Amnesty report cites Israeli sales to eight countries who violate human rights, including South Sudan, Myanmar, Mexico and the UAE ■ Amnesty calls on Israel to adopt oversight model adopted by many Western countries ■ Senior Israeli defense official: Export license is only granted after lengthy process
    Amos Harel
    May 17, 2019 5:59 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-arming-dictators-equipping-pariahs-an-alarming-picture-of-israel-s

    A thorough report by Amnesty International is harshly critical of Israel’s policies on arms exports. According to the report written in Hebrew by the organization’s Israeli branch, Israeli companies continue to export weapons to countries that systematically violate human rights. Israeli-made weapons are also found in the hands of armies and organizations committing war crimes. The report points to eight such countries that have received arms from Israel in recent years.

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    Often these weapons reach their destination after a series of transactions, thereby skirting international monitoring and the rules of Israel itself. Amnesty calls on the government, the Knesset and the Defense Ministry to more tightly monitor arms exports and enforce transparency guidelines adopted by other Western countries that engage in large-scale weapons exports.

    In the report, Amnesty notes that the supervision of the arms trade is “a global, not a local issue. The desire and need for better monitoring of global arms sales derives from tragic historical events such as genocide, bloody civil wars and the violent repression of citizens by their governments …. There is a new realization that selling arms to governments and armies that employ violence only fuels violent conflicts and leads to their escalation. Hence, international agreements have been reached with the aim of preventing leaks of military equipment to dictatorial or repressive regimes.”

    >> Read more: Revealed: Israel’s cyber-spy industry helps world dictators hunt dissidents and gays

    The 2014 Arms Trade Treaty established standards for trade in conventional weapons. Israel signed the treaty but the cabinet never ratified it. According to Amnesty, Israel has never acted in the spirit of this treaty, neither by legislation nor its policies.

    “There are functioning models of correct and moral-based monitoring of weapons exports, including the management of public and transparent reporting mechanisms that do not endanger a state’s security or foreign relations,” Amnesty says. “Such models were established by large arms exporters such as members of the European Union and the United States. There is no justification for the fact that Israel continues to belong to a dishonorable club of exporters such as China and Russia.”

    In 2007, the Knesset passed a law regulating the monitoring of weapons exports. The law authorizes the Defense Ministry to oversee such exports, manage their registration and decide on the granting of export licenses. The law defines defense-related exports very broadly, including equipment for information-gathering, and forbids trade in such items without a license.
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    The law does not include a clause limiting exports when there is a high probability that these items will be used in violation of international or humanitarian laws. But the law does prohibit “commerce with foreign agencies that are not in compliance with UN Security Council resolutions that prohibit or limit a transfer of such weapons or missiles to such recipients.”

    According to Amnesty, “the absence of monitoring and transparency have for decades let Israel supply equipment and defense-related knowledge to questionable states and dictatorial or unstable regimes that have been shunned by the international community.”

    The report quotes a 2007 article by Brig. Gen. (res.) Uzi Eilam. “A thick layer of fog has always shrouded the export of military equipment. Destinations considered pariah states by the international community, such as Chile in the days of Pinochet or South Africa during the apartheid years, were on Israel’s list of trade partners,” Eilam wrote.

    “The shroud of secrecy helped avoid pressure by the international community, but also prevented any transparency regarding decisions to sell arms to problematic countries, leaving the judgment and decision in the hands of a small number of people, mainly in the defense establishment.”

    The report presents concrete evidence on Israel’s exports over the last two decades, with arms going to eight countries accused by international institutions of serious human rights violations: South Sudan, Myanmar, the Philippines, Cameroon, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. In some of these cases, Israel denied that it exported arms to these countries at specifically mentioned times. In other case it refused to give details.
    Israeli security-related exports

    In its report, Amnesty relies on the research of other human rights groups, on documentation published in the media in those eight countries, and on information gathered by attorney Eitay Mack, who in recent years has battled to expose Israel’s arms deals with shady regimes. Amnesty cross-checks descriptions of exported weapons with human rights violations and war crimes by those countries. In its report, Amnesty says that some of these countries were under sanctions and a weapons-sales embargo, but Israel continued selling them arms.

    According to the organization, “the law on monitoring in its current format is insufficient and has not managed to halt the export of weapons to Sri Lanka, which massacred many of its own citizens; to South Sudan, where the regime and army committed ethnic cleansing and aggravated crimes against humanity such as the mass rape of hundreds of women, men and girls; to Myanmar, where the army committed genocide and the chief of staff, who carried out the arms deal with Israel, is accused of these massacres and other crimes against humanity; and to the Philippines, where the regime and police executed 15,000 civilians without any charges or trials.”

    Amnesty says that this part of the report “is not based on any report by the Defense Ministry relating to military equipment exports, for the simple reason that the ministry refuses to release any information. The total lack of transparency by Israel regarding weapons exports prevents any public discussion of the topic and limits any research or public action intended to improve oversight.”

    One example is the presence of Israeli-made Galil Ace rifles in the South Sudanese army. “With no documentation of sales, one cannot know when they were sold, by which company, how many, and so on,” the report says.

    “All we can say with certainty is that the South Sudanese army currently has Israeli Galil rifles, at a time when there is an international arms embargo on South Sudan, imposed by the UN Security Council, due to ethnic cleansing, as well as crimes against humanity, using rape as a method of war, and due to war crimes the army is perpetrating against the country’s citizens.”

    According to Amnesty, the defense export control agency at the Defense Ministry approved the licenses awarded Israeli companies for selling weapons to these countries, even though it knew about the bad human rights situation there. It did this despite the risk that Israeli exports would be used to violate human rights and despite the embargo on arms sales imposed on some of these countries by the United States and the European Union, as well as other sanctions that were imposed by these countries or the United Nations.

    In response to letters written to the export control agency, its head, Rachel Chen, said: “We can’t divulge whether we’re exporting to one of these countries, but we carefully examine the state of human rights in each country before approving export licenses for selling them weapons.” According to Amnesty, this claim is false, as shown by the example of the eight countries mentioned in the report.

    Amnesty recommends steps for improving the monitoring of defense exports. It says Israel lags American legislation by 20 years, and European legislation by 10 years. “The lack of transparency has further negative implications, such as hiding information from the public,” Amnesty says.
    File photo: Personnel of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), assigned as South Sundan’s presidential guard, take part in a drill at their barracks in Rejaf, South Sudan, April 26, 2019.
    File photo: Personnel of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), assigned as South Sundan’s presidential guard, take part in a drill at their barracks in Rejaf, South Sudan, April 26, 2019.Alex McBride/AFP

    “The concept by which the Defense Ministry operates is that it is not in the public interest to know which countries buy weapons here, how much and under what conditions. This is an erroneous conception that stems from the wish to conceal, using the well-worn cloak of ‘issues of state security and foreign relations’ as an excuse,” it adds.

    “The veil of secrecy makes it hard to obtain data. In our humble opinion, the information we have gathered and presented in this report is the tip of the iceberg. Most of the evidence is based on official reports issued by the recipient states, such as the Facebook page of the chief of staff in Myanmar, or the site of the Philippine government’s spokesman.”

    The authors say attempts to maintain secrecy in an era of social media and global media coverage are absurd and doomed to fail.

    “Let the reasonable reader ask himself if the powers that sell weapons are concerned about harm to state security resulting from making the information accessible, or whether this is just an excuse, with the veil of secrecy protecting the interests of certain agencies in Israel.”

    Amnesty says Israel ranks eighth among the exporters of heavy weapons around the world. Between 2014 and 2018, Israel’s defense exports comprised 3.1 percent of global sales. Compared with the previous four years, this was a 60 percent increase. The three largest customers of heavy weapons sold by Israel are India, Azerbaijan and Vietnam.

    But the report says defense industries are not the largest or most lucrative contributors to Israeli exports. According to the Defense Ministry, defense exports comprise 10 percent of Israel’s industrial exports. “Defense-related companies in Israel export to 130 countries around the world,” the report says. “Of these, only a minority are countries designated by the UN and the international community as violators of human rights.”

    These are mostly poor countries and the scope of defense exports to them is small compared to the rest of Israel’s exports. According to Amnesty, banning exports to the eight countries would not sting Israel’s defense contractors or their profits, and would certainly not have a public impact. “There is no justification – economic, diplomatic, security-related or strategic – to export weapons to these countries,” the report says.

    Amnesty believes that “the situation is correctable. Israel’s government and the Defense Ministry must increase their monitoring and transparency, similar to what the vast majority of large weapons exporters around the world do except for Russia and China.”

    According to Amnesty, this should be done by amending the law regulating these exports, adding two main clauses. The first would prohibit the awarding of licenses to export to a country with a risk of serious human rights violations, based on international humanitarian law.

    The second would set up a committee to examine the human rights situation in any target state. The committee would include people from outside the defense establishment and the Foreign Ministry such as academics and human rights activists, as is customary in other countries.

    “Monitoring must not only be done, it must be seen, and the Israeli public has every right to know what is done in its name and with its resources, which belong to everyone,” the report says.

    A policy of obscurity

    A senior defense official who read the Amnesty report told Haaretz that many of its claims have been discussed in recent years in petitions to the High Court of Justice. The justices have heard petitions relating to South Sudan, Cameroon and Mexico. However, in all cases, the court accepted the state’s position that deliberations would be held with only one side present – the state, and that its rulings would remain classified.
    File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to a military commander along the Gaza border, southern Israel, March 28, 2019.
    File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to a military commander along the Gaza border, southern Israel, March 28, 2019.Itay Beit On/GPO

    Monitoring of exports has substantially increased since the law was passed, the official said. The authority endowed to the Defense Ministry by this law, including imposing economic sanctions, prohibition of exports and taking legal action against companies, are more far-reaching than in other countries.

    “The process of obtaining an export license in Israel is lengthy, difficult and imposes onerous regulations on exporters," he added. “When there is evidence of human rights violations in a country buying arms from Israel, we treat this with utmost seriousness in our considerations. The fact is that enlightened states respect the laws we have and are interested in the ways we conduct our monitoring.”

    He admitted that Israel does adopt a policy of obscurity with regard to its arms deals. “We don’t share information on whether or to which country we’ve sold arms,” he said. “We’ve provided all the information to the High Court. The plaintiffs do receive fixed laconic responses, but there are diplomatic and security-related circumstances that justify this.”

    “Other countries can be more transparent but we’re in a different place,” he argued. "We don’t dismiss out of hand discussion of these issues. The questions are legitimate but the decisions and polices are made after all the relevant considerations are taken into account.”

    The intense pace of events in recent months – rounds of violence along the Gaza border, Israel’s election, renewed tension between the U.S. and Iran – have left little time to deal with other issues that make the headlines less frequently.

    Israel is currently in the throes of an unprecedented constitutional and political crisis, the outcome of which will seriously impact its standing as a law-abiding state. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeds in his plan to halt all legal proceedings against him, legislating an immunity law and restricting the jurisdiction of the High Court, all other issues would pale in comparison.

    There is some logic to the claim that Israel cannot be holier than thou when it comes to arms sales in the global market, and yet, the Amnesty report depicts a horrific image, backed by reliable data, but also makes suggestions for improvement that seem reasonable.

    Numerous reports over the last year show that the problem is not restricted to the sale of light weapons, but might be exacerbated by the spread of cyberwarfare tools developed by Israel and what dark regimes can do with these. Even if it happens through a twisted chain of sub-contractors, the state can’t play innocent. Therefore, it’s worthwhile listening to Amnesty’s criticism and suggestions for improvement.
    Amos Harel

  • Palestinian youth killed by Israeli forces near Bethlehem
    March 21, 2019 11:15 A.M.
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?ID=782937

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A 22-year-old Palestinian succumbed to wounds he had sustained after Israeli forces opened heavy fire towards a vehicle that he was riding in, near the al-Nashash checkpoint in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on late Wednesday.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed that Ahmad Jamal Mahmoud Munasra, 22, a resident from Wadi Fukin village, in the Bethlehem district, was shot with Israeli live fire in the chest, shoulder, and hand.

    The ministry said that Munasra was transferred to the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

    The ministry mentioned that another Palestinian was shot and injured in the stomach.

    #Palestine_assassinée

    • Gideon Levy // Even for the Wild West Bank, This Is a Shocking Story

      A young Palestinian’s attempt to help a stranger shot by Israeli troops costs him his life
      Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Mar 28, 2019
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-even-for-the-wild-west-bank-this-is-a-shocking-story-1.7066087

      Jamal, Ahmad Manasra’s father. A mourning poster for Ahmad is in the background. Credit : Alex Levac

      It was appallingly cold, rainy and foggy on Monday of this week at the southern entrance to Bethlehem. A group of young people stood on the side of the road, gazing at something. Gloomy and toughened, they formed a circle around the concrete cube in which are sunken the spikes of a large billboard – an ad for Kia cars that stretches across the road. They were looking for signs of blood, as though they were volunteers in Zaka, the Israeli emergency response organization. They were looking for bloodstains of their friend, who was killed there five days earlier. Behind the concrete cube they found what they were looking for, a large bloodstain, now congealed. The stain held fast despite the heavy rain, as though refusing to be washed away, determined to remain there, a silent monument.

      This is where their friend tried, in his last moments, to find protection from the soldiers who were shooting at him, probably from the armored concrete tower that looms over the intersection a few dozen meters away. It was to here that he fled, already wounded, attempting to take cover behind the concrete cube. But it was too late. His fate was sealed by the soldiers. Six bullets slashed into his body and killed him. He collapsed and died next to the concrete cube by the side of the road.

      Even in a situation in which anything is possible, this is an unbelievable story. It’s 9 P.M. Wednesday March 20. A family is returning from an outing. Their car breaks down. The father of the family, Ala Raida, 38, from the village of Nahalin, who is legally employed paving roads in Israel, steps out of his Volkswagen Golf to see what has happened. His wife, Maisa, 34, and their two daughters, Sirin, 8, and Lin, 5, wait in the car. Suddenly the mother hears a single shot and sees her husband lean back onto the car. Emerging from the car, she discovers to her astonishment that he’s wounded in the stomach. She shouts hysterically for help, the girls in the car are crying and screaming.

      Another car, a Kia Sportage, arrives at the intersection. Its occupants are four young people from the nearby village of Wadi Fukin. They’re on the way home from the wedding of their friend Mahmoud Lahruv, held that evening in the Hall of Dreams in Bethlehem. At the sight of the woman next to the traffic light appealing for help, they stop the car and get out to see what they can do. Three of them quickly carry the wounded man to their car and rush him to the nearest hospital, Al-Yamamah, in the town of Al-Khader. The fourth young man, Ahmad Manasra, 23, stays behind to calm the woman and the frightened girls. Manasra tries to start the stalled car in order to move it away from the dangerous intersection, but the vehicle doesn’t respond. He then gets back out of the car. The soldiers start firing at him. He tries to get to the concrete cube but is struck by the bullets as he runs. Three rounds hit him in the back and chest, the others slam into his lower body. He dies on the spot.

      The army says that stones were thrown. All the eyewitnesses deny that outright. Nor is it clear what the target of the stones might have been. The armored concrete tower? And even if stones were thrown at cars heading for the settlement of Efrat, is that a reason to open fire with live ammunition on a driver whose car broke down, with his wife and young daughters on board? Or on a young man who tried to get the car moving and to calm the mother and her daughters? Shooting with no restraint? With no pity? With no law?

      We visit the skeleton of an unfinished apartment on the second floor of a house in Wadi Fukin. It’s an impoverished West Bank village just over the Green Line, whose residents fled in 1949 and were allowed to return in 1972, and which is now imprisoned between the giant ultra-Orthodox settlement of Betar Ilit and the town of Tzur Hadassah, which is just inside the Green Line. A wood stove tries to rebuff the bitter cold in the broad space between the unplastered walls and the untiled floor. A grim-looking group of men are sitting around the fire, trying to warm themselves. They are the mourners for Manasra; this was going to be his apartment one day, when he got married. That will never happen now.

      Only the memorial posters remain in the unbuilt space. A relative and fellow villager, Adel Atiyah, an ambassador in the Palestinian delegation to the European Union, calls from Brussels to offer his shocked condolences. One of the mourners, Fahmi Manasra, lives in Toronto and is here on a visit to his native land. The atmosphere is dark and pained.

      The bereaved father, Jamal, 50, is resting in his apartment on the ground floor. When he comes upstairs, it’s clear he’s a person deeply immersed in his grief though impressive in his restraint. He’s a tiler who works in Israel with a permit. He last saw his son as he drove along the main street in Bethlehem as his son was going to his friend’s wedding. Jamal was driving his wife, Wafa, home from another wedding. That was about two hours before Ahmad was killed. In the last two days of his life they worked together, Jamal and his son, in the family vineyard, clearing away cuttings and spraying. Now he wistfully remembers those precious moments. Ahmad asked to borrow his father’s car to drive to the wedding, but Jamal needed it to visit the doctor, and Ahmad joined the group in Wahib Manasra’s SUV.

      Wahib Manasra, who witnessed the gunfire. Credit: Alex Levac

      Quiet prevails in the shell of the unfinished apartment. Someone says that Manasra was already planning the layout of his future home – the living room would be here, the kitchen there. Maisa Raida, the wife of the wounded driver, is at her husband’s bedside at Hadassah Medical Center, Ein Karem, Jerusalem, where he’s recovering from his severe stomach wound. He was brought there from Al-Khader because of the seriousness of his condition. Major damage was done to internal organs in his abdomen and he needed complicated surgery, but he seems to be on the mend.

      Maisa told a local field investigator from a human rights group that at first she didn’t realize that her husband was wounded. Only after she stepped out of the car did she see that he was leaning on the vehicle because of the wound. She yelled for help, and after the young men stopped and took her husband to the hospital, she got back into the car with Manasra, whom she didn’t know. While they were in the car with her daughters, and he was trying get it started, she heard another burst of gunfire aimed at their car from the side, but which didn’t hit them.

      She had no idea that Manasra was shot and killed when he got out of the car, moments later. She stayed inside, trying to calm the girls. It wasn’t until she called her father and her brother-in-law and they arrived and took her to Al-Yamamah Hospital that she heard that someone had been killed. Appalled, she thought they meant her husband but was told that the dead person had been taken to Al-Hussein Hospital in Beit Jala.

      Eventually, she realized that the man who was killed was the same young man who tried to help her and her daughters; he was dead on arrival. Before Maisa and her daughters were taken from the scene, an officer and soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces came to the stalled car and tried to calm them.

      Manasra was dead by then, sprawled next to the concrete cube. He was a Real Madrid fan and liked cars. Until recently he worked in the settlement of Hadar Betar, inside Betar Ilit. His little brother, 8-year-old Abdel Rahman, wanders among the mourners in a daze.

      After Jamal Manasra returned home, his phone began ringing nonstop. He decided not to answer. He says he was afraid to answer, he had forebodings from God. He and his wife drove to the hospital in Beit Jala. He has no rational explanation for why they went to the hospital. From God. “I was the last to know,” he says in Hebrew. At the hospital, he was asked whether he was Ahmad’s father. Then he understood. He and his wife have two more sons and a daughter. Ahmad was their firstborn.

      We asked the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit a number of questions. Why did the soldiers shoot Ala Raida and Ahmad Manasra with live ammunition? Why did they go on shooting at Manasra even after he tried to flee? Did the soldiers fire from the armored watchtower? Do the security cameras show that stones were indeed thrown? Were the soldiers in mortal danger?

      This was the IDF’s response to all these questions: “On March 21, a debriefing was held headed by the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division, Brig. Gen. Eran Niv, and the commander of the Etzion territorial brigade, Col. David Shapira, in the area of the event that took place on Thursday [actually, it was a Wednesday] at the Efrat junction and at the entrance to Bethlehem. From the debriefing it emerges that an IDF fighter who was on guard at a military position near the intersection spotted a suspect who was throwing stones at vehicles in the area and carried out the procedure for arresting a suspect, which ended in shooting. As a result of the shooting, the suspect was killed and another Palestinian was wounded.

      T he West Bank settlement of Betar Ilit is seen from the rooftop of Wadi Fukin, a Palestinian village. Credit : \ Alex Levac

      “The possibility is being examined that there was friction between Palestinians, which included stone-throwing.

      “The inquiry into the event continues, parallel to the opening of an investigation by the Military Police.”

      After the group of young people found what they were looking for – bloodstains of their friend, Ahmad – they reconstructed for us the events of that horrific evening. It was important for them to talk to an Israeli journalist. They’re the three who came out alive from the drive home after the wedding. One of them, Ahmad Manasra – he has the same name as the young man who was killed – wouldn’t get out of the car when we were there. He’s still traumatized. Wahib Manasra, the driver of the SUV, showed us where the stalled VW had been, and where they stopped when they saw a woman shouting for help.

      Soldiers and security cameras viewed us even now, from the watchtower, which is no more than 30 meters from the site. Wahib says that if there was stone-throwing, or if they had noticed soldiers, they wouldn’t have stopped and gotten out of the car. Raida, the wounded man, kept mumbling, “My daughters, my daughters,” when they approached him. He leaned on them and they put him in their car. By the time they reached the gas station down the road, he had lost consciousness. Before that, he again mumbled, “My daughters.”

      Wahib and the other Ahmad, the one who was alive, returned quickly from the hospital, which is just a few minutes from the site. But they could no longer get close to the scene, as a great many cars were congregated there. They got out of the car and proceeded on foot. A Palestinian ambulance went by. Looking through the window, Wahib saw to his horror his friend, Ahmad Manasra, whom they had left on the road with the woman and her girls, lying inside. He saw at once that Ahmad was dead.

    • Israeli army seeks three months community service for soldier who killed innocent Palestinian
      Hagar Shezaf | Aug. 16, 2020 | 1:25 PM- Haaretz.com
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-israeli-army-seeks-community-service-for-soldier-who-killed-innoce

      The Military Advocate General is to seek a sentence of three months’ community service for an Israeli soldier who shot and killed an innocent Palestinian, as part of a plea bargain signed with the solider.

      The 23-year-old victim, Ahmad Manasra, was helping a man who had been shot by the same soldier and seriously wounded. The soldier who killed Manasra was charged with negligent homicide, but was not charged for wounding the other man, although the first shooting is mentioned in the indictment.

      According to an eyewitness, the soldier fired six bullets at Manasra.

      The soldier has since been released from the Israel Defense Forces. The army did not respond to Haaretz’s query as to whether the soldier had continued in his combat role after the shooting.

      The plea bargain, which states that the soldier will be given a three-month prison sentence that he will serve as community service, will be brought before the military court in Jaffa on Monday. The deal also states that the soldier will be given a suspended sentence and will be demoted to the rank of private.

      This is the first time an indictment has been served against a soldier following the killing of a Palestinian since the case of Elor Azaria, who shot and killed a wounded and incapacitated assailant in Hebron in 2016.

      According to the July indictment, in March of 2019 Alaa Raayda, the 38-year-old Palestinian who was shot in the stomach and seriously wounded, was driving his car together with his wife and two daughters when another car crashed into them at a junction near the village of El-Hadar in the southern West Bank. The other car fled the scene, and Raayda left his vehicle and waved his hands at the other car. The indictment states that the solider thought that Raayda was throwing stones at Israeli vehicles and proceeded to shout warnings and fire into the air before shooting at him.

      However, in Raayda’s affidavit, he states that he was shot outside his vehicle without warning, which is an infraction of the rules of engagement.

      The indictment then states that Manasra came to Raayda’s aid, with three friends who had been on their way home with him after a wedding in Bethlehem. The three helped evacuate the wounded man to the hospital, while Manasra remained at the scene with Raayda’s wife and daughters to help them start their car. According to the indictment, Manasra was shot when he exited the car, and then shot again when he tried to flee the scene.

      The indictment also states that the soldier started shooting when he “mistakenly thought" that Manasra “was the stone-thrower he has seen earlier… although in fact the man who was killed had not thrown stones.”

      In response to the plea bargain, Manasra’s father, Jamal, told Haaretz: “In our religion it says you have to help everyone. Look what happened to my son when he tried to help – they shot him dead. It doesn’t matter how much I talked to Israeli television and newspapers, nothing helped.”

      Attorney Shlomo Lecker, who is representing the families of Raayda and Manasra, asked to appeal the plea bargain when it was issued last month. To this end, he asked for a letter summarizing the investigation, the reason the soldier had not been charged for shooting and wounding Raayda, and that the case had been closed. However, Lecker said the prosecutor in the case and the head of litigation, Major Matan Forsht, refused to give him the document. On Thursday, Lecker submitted his appeal against the plea bargain based on the facts in the indictment, but his request to postpone the hearing until after a decision on his petition was rejected.

      According to Lecker: “The higher echelons of the army convey a message to soldiers in the occupied territories that if they shoot Palestinians for no reason, killing and wounding them, the punishment will be three months of raking leaves” at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv.

      The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that on the day of the shooting, “a warning had been received shortly before the shooting of a possible terror attack in the area,” adding that “the indictment was filed in the context of a plea bargain after a hearing. In the framework of the plea bargain the soldier is expected to take responsibility and admit to the facts of the indictment before the court."

      The plea agreement is subject to the approval of the military court and will be presented to it in the near future. In coming to a decision regarding the charges and the sentence, complex evidentiary and legal elements were taken into consideration, as well as the clear operational circumstances of the event, and the willingness of the soldier to take responsibility, the IDF said.

      The statement said that “contrary to the claims of the representative of the families of the killed and wounded men,” there has been an ongoing dialogue with him for a long time … thus the representative was informed of the negotiations and he was given the opportunity to respond. He also received a copy of the indictment and it was explained that he could convey any information he saw fit with regard to his clients, which would be brought before the military court when the plea bargain was presented. The hearing was also put off for a week at the request of the parties, which was filed at [Lecker’s] request.”

  • For six months, these Palestinian villages had running water. Israel put a stop to it
    For six months, Palestinian villagers living on West Bank land that Israel deems a closed firing range saw their dream of running water come true. Then the Civil Administration put an end to it

    Amira Hass Feb 22, 2019 3:25 PM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-why-doesn-t-israel-want-palestinians-to-have-running-water-1.69595

    The dream that came true, in the form of a two-inch water line, was too good to be true. For about six months, 12 Palestinian West Bank villages in the South Hebron Hills enjoyed clean running water. That was until February 13, when staff from the Israeli Civil Administration, accompanied by soldiers and Border Police and a couple of bulldozers, arrived.

    The troops dug up the pipes, cut and sawed them apart and watched the jets of water that spurted out. About 350 cubic meters of water were wasted. Of a 20 kilometer long (12 mile) network, the Civil Administration confiscated remnants and sections of a total of about 6 kilometers of piping. They loaded them on four garbage trucks emblazoned with the name of the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan on them.

    The demolition work lasted six and a half hours. Construction of the water line network had taken about four months. It had been a clear act of civil rebellion in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King against one of the most brutal bans that Israel imposes on Palestinian communities in Area C, the portion of the West Bank under full Israeli control. It bars Palestinians from hooking into existing water infrastructure.

    The residential caves in the Masafer Yatta village region south of Hebron and the ancient cisterns used for collecting rainwater confirm the local residents’ claim that their villages have existed for decades, long before the founding of the State of Israel. In the 1970s, Israel declared some 30,000 dunams (7,500 acres) in the area Firing Range 918.

    In 1999, under the auspices of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the army expelled the residents of the villages and demolished their structures and water cisterns. The government claimed that the residents were trespassing on the firing range, even though these were their lands and they have lived in the area long before the West Bank was captured by Israel.

    When the matter was brought to the High Court of Justice, the court approved a partial return to the villages but did not allow construction or hookups to utility infrastructure. Mediation attempts failed, because the state was demanding that the residents leave their villages and live in the West Bank town of Yatta and come to graze their flocks and work their land only on a few specific days per year.

    But the residents continued to live in their homes, risking military raids and demolition action — including the demolition of public facilities such as schools, medical clinics and even toilets. They give up a lot to maintain their way of life as shepherds, but could not forgo water.

    “The rainy season has grown much shorter in recent years, to only about 45 days a year,” explained Nidal Younes, the chairman of the Masafer Yatta council of villages. “In the past, we didn’t immediately fill the cisterns with rainwater, allowing them to be washed and cleaned first. Since the amount of rain has decreased, people stored water right away. It turns out the dirty water harmed the sheep and the people.”

    Because the number of residents has increased, even in years with abundant rain, at a certain stage the cisterns ran dry and the shepherds would bring in water by tractor. They would haul a 4 cubic meter (140 square foot) tank along the area’s narrow, poor roads — which Israel does not permit to have widened and paved. “The water has become every family’s largest expense,” Younes said.

    In the village of Halawa, he pointed out Abu Ziyad, a man of about 60. “I always see him on a tractor, bringing in water or setting out to bring back water.”

    Sometimes the tractors overturn and drivers are injured. Tires quickly wear out and precious work days go to waste. “We are drowning in debt to pay for the transportation of water,” Abu Ziyad said.

    In 2017, the Civil Administration and the Israeli army closed and demolished the roads to the villages, which the council had earlier managed to widen and rebuild. That had been done to make it easier to haul water in particular, but also more generally to give the villages better access.

    The right-wing Regavim non-profit group “exposed” the great crime committed in upgrading the roads and pressured the Civil Administration and the army to rip them up. “The residents’ suffering increased,” Younes remarked. “We asked ourselves how to solve the water problem.”

    The not very surprising solution was installing pipes to carry the water from the main water line in the village of Al-Tuwani, through privately owned lands of the other villages. “I checked it out, looking to see if there was any ban on laying water lines on private land and couldn’t find one,” Younes said.

    Work done by volunteers

    The plumbing work was done by volunteers, mostly at night and without heavy machinery, almost with their bare hands. Ali Debabseh, 77, of the village of Khalet al-Daba, recalled the moment when he opened the spigot installed near his home and washed his face with running water. “I wanted to jump for joy. I was as happy as a groom before his wedding.”

    Umm Fadi of the village of Halawa also resorted to the word “joy” in describing the six months when she had a faucet near the small shack in which she lives. “The water was clean, not brown from rust or dust. I didn’t need to go as far as the cistern to draw water, didn’t need to measure every drop.”

    Now it’s more difficult to again get used to being dependent on water dispensed from tanks.

    The piping and connections and water meters were bought with a 100,000 euro ($113,000) European donation. Instead of paying 40 shekels ($11) per cubic meter for water brought in with water tanks, the residents paid only about 6 shekels for the same amount of running water. Suddenly they not only saved money, but also had more precious time.

    The water lines also could have saved European taxpayers money. A European project to help the residents remain in their homes had been up and running since 2011, providing annual funding of 120,000 euros to cover the cost of buying and transporting drinking water during the three summer months for the residents (but not their livestock).

    The cost was based on a calculation involving consumption of 750 liters per person a month, far below the World Health Organization’s recommended quantity. There are between 1,500 and 2,000 residents. The project made things much easier for such a poor community, which continued to pay out of its own pocket for the water for some 40,000 sheep and for the residents’ drinking water during the remainder of the year. Now that the Civil Administration has demolished the water lines, the European donor countries may be forced to once again pay for the high price of transporting water during the summer months, at seven times the cost.

    For its part, the Civil Administration issued a statement noting that the area is a closed military zone. “On February 13,” the statement said, “enforcement action was taken against water infrastructure that was connected to illegal structures in this area and that were built without the required permits.”

    Ismail Bahis should have been sorry that the pipes were laid last year. He and his brothers, residents of Yatta, own water tankers and were the main water suppliers to the Masafer Yatta villages. Through a system of coupons purchased with the European donation, they received 800 shekels for every shipment of 20 cubic meters of water. But Bahis said he was happy he had lost out on the work.

    “The roads to the villages of Masafer Yatta are rough and dangerous, particularly after the army closed them,” he said. “Every trip of a few kilometers took at least three and a half hours. Once I tipped over with the tanker. Another time the army confiscated my brother’s truck, claiming it was a closed military zone. We got the truck released three weeks later in return for 5,000 shekels. We always had other additional expenses replacing tires and other repairs for the truck.

    Nidal Younes recounted that the council signed a contract with another water carrier to meet the demand. But that supplier quit after three weeks. He wouldn’t agree to drive on the poor and dangerous roads.

    On February 13, Younes heard the large group of forces sent by the Civil Administration beginning to demolish the water lines near the village of Al-Fakhit. He rushed to the scene and began arguing with the soldiers and Civil Administration staff.

    Border Police arrests

    Border Police officers arrested him, handcuffed him and put him in a jeep. His colleague, the head of the Al-Tuwani council, Mohammed al-Raba’i, also approached those carrying out the demolition work to protest. “But they arrested me after I said two words. At least Nidal managed to say a lot,” he said with a smile that concealed sadness.

    Two teams carried out the demolition work, one proceeding toward the village of Jinbah, to the southeast, the second advanced in the direction of Al-Tuwani, to the northwest. They also demolished the access road leading to the village of Sha’ab al-Butum, so that even if Bahis wanted to transport water again, he would have had to make a large detour to do so.

    Younes was shocked to spot a man named Marco among the team carrying out the demolition. “I remembered him from when I was a child, from the 1980s when he was an inspector for the Civil Administration. In 1985, he supervised the demolition of houses in our village, Jinbah — twice, during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr [marking the end of the Ramadan holy month],” he said.

    “They knew him very well in all the villages in the area because he attended all the demolitions. The name Marco was a synonym for an evil spirit. Our parents who saw him demolish their homes, have died. He disappeared, and suddenly he has reappeared,” Younes remarked.

    Marco is Marco Ben-Shabbat, who has lead the Civil Administration’s supervision unit for the past 10 years. Speaking to a reporter from the Israel Hayom daily who accompanied the forces carrying out the demolition work, Ben-Shabbat said: “The [water line] project was not carried out by the individual village. The Palestinian Authority definitely put a project manager here and invested a lot of money.”

    More precisely, it was European governments that did so.

    From all of the villages where the Civil Administration destroyed water lines, the Jewish outposts of Mitzpeh Yair and Avigayil can be seen on the hilltops. Although they are unauthorized and illegal even according to lenient Israeli settlement laws, the outposts were connected almost immediately to water and electricity grids and paved roads lead to them.

    “I asked why they demolished the water lines,” Nidal Younes recalled. He said one of the Border Police officers answered him, in English, telling him it was done “to replace Arabs with Jews.”

    #Financementeuropéen

    • Under Israeli Occupation, Water Is a Luxury

      Of all the methods Israel uses to expel Palestinians from their land, the deprivation of water is the most cruel. And so the Palestinians are forced to buy water that Israel stole from them
      Amira Hass
      Feb 24, 2019 9:45 PM
      https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-under-israeli-occupation-water-is-a-luxury-1.6962821

      Water pipes cut by the Israeli military in the village of Khalet al-Daba, February 17, 2019. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

      When I wrote my questions and asked the spokesperson’s office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to explain the destruction of the water pipelines in the Palestinian villages southeast of Yatta, on February 13, my fingers started itching wanting to type the following question: “Tell me, aren’t you ashamed?” You may interpret it as a didactic urge, you can see it as a vestige of faith in the possibility of exerting an influence, or a crumb of hope that there’s somebody there who doesn’t automatically carry out orders and will feel a niggling doubt. But the itching in my fingers disappeared quickly.

      This is not the first time that I’m repressing my didactic urge to ask the representatives of the destroyers, and the deprivers of water, if they aren’t ashamed. After all, every day our forces carry out some brutal act of demolition or prevent construction or assist the settlers who are permeated with a sense of racial superiority, to expel shepherds and farmers from their land. The vast majority of these acts of destruction and expulsion are not reported in the Israeli media. After all, writing about them would require the hiring of another two full-time reporters.

      These acts are carried out in the name of every Israeli citizen, who also pays the taxes to fund the salaries of the officials and the army officers and the demolition contractors. When I write about one small sampling from among the many acts of destruction, I have every right as a citizen and a journalist to ask those who hand down the orders, and those who carry them out: “Tell me, can you look at yourself in the mirror?”

      But I don’t ask. Because we know the answer: They’re pleased with what they see in the mirror. Shame has disappeared from our lives. Here’s another axiom that has come down to us from Mount Sinai: The Jews have a right to water, wherever they are. Not the Palestinians. If they insist on living outside the enclaves we assigned to them in Area A, outside the crowded reservations (the city of Yatta, for example), let them bear the responsibility of becoming accustomed to living without water. It’s impossible without water? You don’t say. Then please, let the Palestinians pay for water that is carried in containers, seven times the cost of the water in the faucet.

      It’s none of our business that most of the income of these impoverished communities is spent on water. It’s none of our business that water delivery is dangerous because of the poor roads. It’s none of our business that the Israel Defense Forces and the Civil Administration dig pits in them and pile up rocks – so that it will be truly impossible to use them to transport water for about 1,500 to 2,000 people, and another 40,000 sheep and goats. What do we care that only one road remains, a long detour that makes delivery even more expensive? After all, it’s written in the Torah: What’s good for us, we’ll deny to others.

      I confess: The fact that the pyramid that carries out the policy of depriving the Palestinians of water is now headed by a Druze (Brig. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) made the itching in my fingers last longer. Maybe because when Abu Rokon approaches the faucet, he thinks the word “thirsty” in the same language used by the elderly Ali Dababseh from the village of Khalet al-Daba to describe life with a dry spigot and waiting for the tractor that will bring water in a container. Or because Abu Rokon first learned from his mother how to say in Arabic that he wants to drink.

      Water towers used by villages due to lack of running water in their homes. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

      But that longer itching is irrational, at least based on the test of reality. The Civil Administration and COGAT are filled with Druze soldiers and officers whose mother tongue is Arabic. They carry out the orders to implement Israel’s settler colonial policy, to expel Palestinians and to take over as much land as possible for Jews, with the same unhesitant efficiency as their colleagues whose mother tongue is Hebrew, Russian or Spanish.

      Of all the Israeli methods of removing Palestinians from their land in order to allocate it to Jews from Israel and the Diaspora, the policy of water deprivation is the cruelest. And these are the main points of this policy: Israel does not recognize the right of all the human beings living under its control to equal access to water and to quantities of water. On the contrary. It believes in the right of the Jews as lords and masters to far greater quantities of water than the Palestinians. It controls the water sources everywhere in the country, including in the West Bank. It carries out drilling in the West Bank and draws water in the occupied territory, and transfers most of it to Israel and the settlements.

      The Palestinians have wells from the Jordanian period, some of which have already dried up, and several new ones from the past 20 years, not as deep as the Israeli ones, and together they don’t yield sufficient quantities of water. The Palestinians are therefore forced to buy from Israel water that Israel is stealing from them.

      Because Israel has full administrative control over 60 percent of the area of the West Bank (among other things it decides on the master plans and approves construction permits), it also forbids the Palestinians who live there to link up to the water infrastructure. The reason for the prohibition: They have no master plan. Or that’s a firing zone. And of course firing zones were declared on Mount Sinai, and an absence of a master plan for the Palestinian is not a deliberate human omission but the act of God.

    • Pendant six mois, ces villages palestiniens ont eu de l’eau courante. Israël y a mis fin
      25 février | Amira Hass pour Haaretz |Traduction SF pour l’AURDIP
      https://www.aurdip.org/pendant-six-mois-ces-villages.html

      Pendant six mois, des villageois palestiniens vivant en Cisjordanie sur une terre qu’Israël considère comme une zone de feu fermée, ont vu leur rêve d’eau courante devenir réalité. Puis l’administration civile y a mis fin.

  • Israel starts construction on 20-foot-high fence surrounding #Gaza

    Covered in barbed wire and sensors, new fence to sit atop tunnel-blocking subterranean wall and connect to sea barrier.
    The Defense Ministry has begun the final phase of construction of a 20-foot high galvanized steel fence that will completely surround the Gaza Strip, Israeli officials said Sunday.

    The barrier will extend 65 kilometers (40 miles) miles around the enclave and sit atop the subterranean concrete wall Israel is constructing around the Gaza Strip to block terrorist groups’ attack tunnels from the coastal enclave.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the barriers were needed to “prevent the infiltration of terrorists into our territory,” at the start of weekly cabinet meeting.

    The fence will connect to the barrier recently built out into the Mediterranean Sea from north of Gaza, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

    The overall Gaza barrier project is due to be completed by the end of 2019, according to the army.

    “On Thursday, we began work on the final component of the Gaza Strip border barrier project. The obstacle is unique and specially designed to protect against the threats from the Strip and to give a superior solution to preventing infiltration into Israeli territory,” said the head of the project, Brig. Gen. (res.) Eran Ofir.

    The barrier project is expected to cost approximately NIS 3 billion ($833 million), with each kilometer of the underground portion of the barrier costing approximately NIS 41.5 million ($11.5 million). The above-ground fence is significantly cheaper, at just NIS 1.5 million ($416,000) per kilometer.

    The new fence surrounding the Gaza Strip will be constructed within Israeli territory, a few dozen meters east of the current shorter, more easily penetrable fencing. The old barrier will not be removed.

    According to the Defense Ministry, the new galvanized steel fence will weigh approximately 20,000 tons and comes equipped with a number of sensors and other “modern security components.”

    The barrier is being constructed jointly by the Israel Defense Forces-Defense Ministry Borders and Security Fence Directorate, run by Ofir, who has overseen the construction of barriers along Israel’s borders with Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

    In 2016, Israel began construction of the new barrier around the Strip, focusing first on the underground portion, following the 2014 Gaza war in which Hamas used subterranean attack tunnels to deadly effect against Israeli troops.

    Over the past two years, work has persisted on the underground sensor-studded concrete wall, despite regular riots and clashes along the border and occasional attacks on the construction sites.

    In addition, the Defense Ministry built a barrier extending out from Israel’s coast aimed at preventing maritime infiltration from Gaza, as occurred in the 2014 war when a team of Hamas naval commandos landed on the beach near the community of Kibbutz Zikim before they were killed by Israeli forces. Construction of the undersea wall and breakwater was completed last month.

    The new above-ground fence will begin at the Egyptian-Israeli-Gaza border, near Kerem Shalom, and will continue out to the sea barrier, according to the Defense Ministry.

    “The above-ground barrier… is another important element in the defense of the [Israeli] communities surrounding Gaza, which already includes: the sea barrier, which provides a response to terrorist infiltration from the sea to the west, and the underground barrier that surrounds the Strip and is meant to prevent the digging of terror tunnels into Israel,” the ministry said.

    The military proposed building the barrier following the 2014 Gaza war, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge. During the fighting, Hamas made extensive use of its tunnel networks to send fighters into Israel as well as to move its terrorist operatives and munitions within the Gaza Strip.

    Hundreds of people, some Israeli and others from abroad, are involved in the project, wearing flak jackets and under guard by IDF soldiers as protection against attack from terror groups in the Strip.

    Concrete factories were built next to the Gaza Strip to speed up construction.

    To build the underground wall, the workers use a hydromill, a powerful piece of drilling equipment that cuts deep, narrow trenches into the earth, which was brought to Israel from Germany.

    In addition to opening up the ground where the barrier will be constructed, the hydromill also exposes any previously undiscovered or newly dug Hamas tunnels that enter Israeli territory. The space left behind by the hydromill — and any Hamas tunnels that get in the way — is then filled with a substance known as bentonite, a type of absorbent clay that expands when it touches water.

    This is meant to prevent the trenches from collapsing, but also has the additional benefit of indicating the presence of a tunnel, as the bentonite would quickly drain into it. Workers then pour regular concrete into the trench. Metal cages with sensors attached are then lowered into the concrete for additional support.


    https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-starts-construction-on-20-foot-high-fence-surrounding-gaza/amp
    #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #Israël
    ping @reka

  • Now Israel has a revolution of the pampered, in stages

    Like the LGBT community, the Druze are fighting an erosion of their favored status – and just might help the country achieve a state based on justice

    Gideon Levy - Aug 05, 2018 12:34 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-now-it-s-a-revolution-of-the-pampered-in-stages-1.6341321

    Israel is making progress. It’s ashamed and is even beginning to protest. Only part of it, probably a minority, remains in its comfort zone; a new light seems to be breaking through the darkness.

    All of a sudden they’re saying apartheid. They dare ask questions about Zionism. Now the term “Jewish-democratic” doesn’t seem so natural anymore. Something creaks when you utter these words. There’s some hesitation when you say “the only democracy.” The protest of the pampered marches on.

    The rally Saturday night in Rabin Square was still within the confines of relative comfort and indulgence, but much less so than previous such events. It was two weeks after the LGBT community demonstrated in the same spot for equal surrogacy rights – under the sponsorship of Meitav Dash Investments. Then came the Druze community, the most privileged of Arabs but Arabs nevertheless, demonstrating for more meaningful equality, this time under the auspices of former heads of the Shin Bet security service, the Mossad and the army.

    This is a hopeful development. It’s true that a demonstration for freedom, equality and fraternity under the helm of former defense chiefs is problematic, almost grotesque.

    When a former Shin Bet head like Yuval Diskin, a person responsible for despicable actions toward millions of people who have no rights, writes a pompous manifesto extolling “the value of equality,” “democratic protest” and “mutual respect,” reminding everyone that he’s the son of Holocaust survivors while talking about racism, it turns your stomach. The fact that most speakers at the rally were generals, both Jews and Druze, who during their service often brutally oppressed another nation, is also problematic.

    It’s true that most of the Druze participants were demonstrating for their own interests, for the equality they believe is their due in return for their military service, without trying to serve as a bridgehead for a campaign championing equality for all, including Palestinians.

    But we can’t ignore their contribution to the growing protest. Largely due to them the nation-state law has become possibly the most exciting civics lesson in Israel in recent years. Questions that were never asked are being raised, maybe only for a short time – yet this is really a shake-up. Maybe in response to the most ultra-nationalist government, a little opposition will finally make an appearance.

    The elephant still stands silently in the middle of the room, with only a few daring to mention him, but some are throwing furtive glances at him. An establishment commentator on defense matters, Channel 10’s Alon Ben-David, has written that underlying the nation-state law is a strategic objective: “It paves the way for the annexation of millions of Palestinians and the loss of a Jewish majority. Will the law mark the beginning of the laying to rest of the Zionist dream?”

    So we may be at the brink of an earthquake, more severe than the earthquake expected in Tiberias. The first signs on the seismograph have been noted. The road is still long, the agents of denial and propaganda are still well in control, but hope has been ignited.

    Israel needs this shake-up so badly. We’ve had so many years mired in the muck amid the brainwashing, the lack of critical thinking and the civic indifference. We’ve had years of intoxication with power, moral arrogance, smugness and confidence that what was will continue, that everything is being done as it should be done and will continue forever. There has been a certainty that we’re right and the whole world is wrong. But maybe the time of doubts has arrived. There can be no better news.

    Seventy years after the establishment of the state, the time has come for questions, for a real lesson in civics and democracy. Did we really deserve all this? Only we deserved it? Is it only ours? Is it only for Jews? By what right? Did all the non-Jewish people deeply connected to this land and who deserve the same rights, deserve everything we’ve done to them? Above all, hasn’t the time come to repair things?

    This repair is still a long way off, but maybe it’s becoming clear that if it doesn’t arrive there won’t be a state here based on justice. Who knows, maybe Brig. Gen. Amal Assad, an occupation officer in Jenin and Lebanon and a Likud member, will herald the message: It’s apartheid or democracy.
    Gideon Levy

    Haaretz Correspondent

  • Israeli minister planned eviction of West Bank Bedouin 40 years ago, document reveals
    Now agriculture minister, then settler activist, Uri Ariel was already planning in the 1970s the eviction of Bedouin living east of Jerusalem that is taking place now in Khan al-Ahmar
    Amira Hass Jul 12, 2018 2:57 AM
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-document-reveals-the-eviction-of-bedouin-was-planned-40-years-ago-

    Forty years ago Uri Ariel, now agriculture minister, was already planning the eviction of Bedouin living east of Jerusalem. This emerges from a document signed by him titled, “A proposal to plan the Ma’aleh Adumim region and establish the community settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim B.”

    The document outlines a plan to turn some 100,000 to 120,000 dunams (25,000 to 30,000 acres) of Palestinian land into an area of Jewish settlement and develop it as a “Jewish corridor,” as he put it, from the coast to the Jordan River. In fact, a large part of the plan has been executed, except for the eviction of all the area’s Bedouin.

    Now the Civil Administration and the police are expediting the demolition of the homes of the Jahalin in Khan al-Ahmar. This is one of approximately 25 Bedouin communities in the area that have become a flagship of the Bedouin resistance in the West Bank’s Area C against the efforts by the Israeli occupation to uproot them, gather them in a few compounds adjacent to Area A, and impose a semi-urban lifestyle on them.

    The boundaries of the area that Ariel sets for his plan are the Palestinian villages of Hizme, Anata, Al-Azariya and Abu Dis to the west, the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley to the east, Wadi Qelt to the north and the Kidron Valley and Horkania Valley to the south. “In the area there are many Bedouin involved in the cultivation of land,” he writes, contrary to the claims voiced today by settlers that the Bedouin only recently popped up and “took over” the land.

    But Ariel has a solution: “Since the area is used by the military and a large part of the industry there serves the defense establishment, the area must be closed to Bedouin settlement and evacuated.”

    This document, exposed here for the first time, was found by Dr. Yaron Ovadia in the Kfar Adumim archives when he was doing research for a book he’s writing about the Judean Desert. Ovadia wrote his doctorate about the Jahalin tribe.

    “Since [the area] is unsettled, it is now possible to plan it entirely,” Ariel wrote, about an area that constituted the land reserves for construction, industry, agriculture and grazing for the Palestinian towns and villages east of Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Ramallah. “Arab urban/rural settlement is spreading at an amazing pace along the route from Jerusalem eastward, and this linear spread must be stopped immediately.”

    His solutions: to build urban neighborhoods that will become part of Jerusalem and to “administratively close the area of the Arab villages by means of an appropriate plan.” This administrative closure by an appropriate plan can be discerned in the reality perpetuated by the Interim Agreement of 1995, which artificially divided the West Bank into Areas A and B, to be administered by the Palestinians, and Area C, which covers 60 percent of the West Bank, to be administered by Israel. That’s how Palestinian enclaves were created with limited development potential within a large Jewish expanse.

    Ariel’s plan was apparently written between late 1978 and the beginning of 1979, and he said that as far as he recalls, it was submitted to Brig. Gen. Avraham Tamir, the IDF’s head of planning. “We have been living for three years in the existing settlement at Mishor Adumim,” writes Ariel, referring to a settlement nucleus that was established in 1975 and was portrayed as a work camp near the Mishor Adumim industrial zone. Even before Ma’aleh Adumim was officially inaugurated, Ariel was proposing to build “Ma’aleh Adumim B,” i.e., Kfar Adumim, which was established in September 1979.

    Some Jahalin families were indeed evicted from their homes in 1977 and 1980. In 1994, expulsion orders were issued against dozens more, and they were evicted in the late 1990s, with the approval of the High Court of Justice. But thousands of Bedouin and their flocks remained in the area, albeit under increasingly difficult conditions as firing zones, settlements and roads reduced their grazing areas and their access to water. From the early 2000s the Civil Administration has been planning to evacuate the Bedouin and forcibly resettle them in permanent townships.

    It’s tempting to present Ariel’s 40-year-old suggestions as an example of the personal and political determination that characterizes many religious Zionist activists and was facilitated by the Likud electoral victory in 1977. But it was Yitzhak Rabin’s first government that decided to build a 4,500-dunam industrial zone for Jerusalem in Khan al-Amar. In 1975 it expropriated a huge area of 30,000 dunams from the Palestinian towns and villages in the area and built a settlement there disguised as a work camp for employees of the industrial zone.

    In a study (“The Hidden Agenda,” 2009) written by Nir Shalev for the nonprofit associations Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights and B’tselem, he notes that the Housing and Construction Ministry’s Jerusalem district director when Ma’aleh Adumim was first being built in 1975 said that the objective behind it was political – “to block the entrance way to Jerusalem from a Jordanian threat.” But since the objective was political, it was clear that he wasn’t referring to a military threat, but to demographic growth that would require additional construction.

    The planning for Ma’aleh Adumim actually began in Golda Meir’s time in the early 1970s; at the time, minister Israel Galili advised Davar reporter Hagai Eshed that it would be best if the press didn’t deal with this “exciting and interesting” issue, “because it could cause damage.” Both the Meir and Rabin governments considered the planned settlement to be part of metropolitan Jerusalem. Moreover, during Rabin’s second government, the period of the Oslo Accords, Bedouin were evicted, in the spirit of Ariel’s proposal.

    Perhaps the most crucial move was actually made in 1971, when under that same government of Meir, Galili and Moshe Dayan, military order No. 418 was issued, which made drastic changes to the planning apparatus in the West Bank. The order removed the rights of Palestinian local councils to plan and build. As explained in another study by Bimkom (“The Prohibted Zone,” 2008) this prepared the legal infrastructure for the separate planning systems – the miserly, restrictive system for the Palestinians and the generous, encouraging one for the settlements. This distorted planning system refused to take into account the longtime Bedouin communities that had been expelled from the Negev and had been living in the area long before the settlements were built.

    The settlement part of Ariel’s proposal succeeded because it was merely a link in a chain of plans and ideas had already been discussed when the Labor Alignment was still in power, and which were advanced by a bureaucratic infrastructure that had been in place even before 1948. Today, under a government in which Ariel’s Habayit Hayehudi party is so powerful, the open expulsion of Bedouin is possible. But the expulsion of Palestinians in general is hardly a Habayit Hayehudi invention.

  • Anonymous snipers and a lethal verdict

    We may never know the name of the soldier who killed Razan al-Najjar. But we do know the names of those who gave the order enabling him to kill her

    Amira Hass Jun 05, 2018

    Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-anonymous-snipers-and-a-lethal-verdict-1.6151967

    We know her name: Razan al-Najjar. But what’s his? What’s the name of the soldier who killed her, with direct fire to the chest last Friday? We don’t know, and we probably won’t ever know.
    In contrast to the Palestinians suspected of killing Israelis, the Israeli who killed Najjar is protected from exposure to the cameras and an in-depth breakdown of his family history, including his relatives’ participation in routine attacks on Palestinians as part of their military service or their political affiliation.
    Demanding Israeli microphones will not be pushed into his face with probing questions: Didn’t you see she was wearing a paramedic’s white robe when you aimed at her chest?
    Didn’t you see her hair covered with a head scarf? Do your rules of engagement require you to shoot at paramedics, men and women as well, and at a distance of about 100 meters (some 330 feet) from the border fence? Did you shoot at her legs (why?) and miss because you’re useless? Are you sorry? Do you sleep well at night? Did you tell your girlfriend it was you who killed a young woman the same age as her? Was Najjar your first?
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    The anonymity of our soldiers picking off and killing Palestinians is an inseparable part of the culture of Israeli impunity. We are above it all. Immune from everything. Allowing an anonymous soldier to kill a young paramedic with a bullet that hit her in the chest, exiting from her back, and continuing on with our lives.
    >> ’We die anyway, so let it be in front of the cameras’: Conversations with Gazans
    There are lots of pictures of Najjar on the internet: She stood out as one of the few women among the first aid teams operating at the “March of Return” protest sites since March 30.
    After two years’ training, she volunteered for the Palestinian Medical Relief Society. She happily gave interviews, including to The New York Times’ correspondent in Gaza, speaking about the ability of women to act under difficult conditions no less so than men – and even better than them. She knew how dangerous her job was. A paramedic was killed by Israel Defense Forces fire on May 14, dozens of others were injured and suffocated as they ran to rescue the wounded.
    Najjar, 21 at the time of her death, was from the village of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis. In interviews, she was not asked about the wars and Israeli military attacks during her childhood and later. It is hard to find their scars in her pleasant face seen on screen. In every interview, she is seen wrapped in a head scarf of a different color – and each time it is wrapped around her head stylishly, meticulously, showing an investment of time and thought. The color reveals a love for life, despite all she had gone through.
    We do not know the name of the soldier, but we do know who is in the chain of command that ordered and enabled him to kill a 21-year-old paramedic: Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, both of whom approved the wording of the rules of engagement, as the High Court justices were told before they denied petitions against the shooting at protesters along the border fence.
    Despite all the testimony about civilian fatalities and horrifying injuries, the justices chose to believe what they were told in the name of the military by Avi Milikovsky, a lawyer from the State Prosecutor’s Office: The use of potentially lethal force is taken only as a last resort, in a proportionate manner and to the minimal extent required.
    Please explain how this tallies with the death of Najjar, who was treating a man injured directly by a tear-gas canister. An eyewitness told The New York Times that while the injured man was being taken to an ambulance, her colleagues were treating her because she was suffering the effects of the tear gas. Then shots were heard and Najjar fell.
    High Court Justices Esther Hayut, Hanan Melcer and Neal Hendel presented the army with an exemption from investigation and an exemption from criticism on a silver platter. In doing so, they joined the chain of command that ordered our anonymous soldier to fire at the chest of the paramedic and kill her.

  • Anonymous #Snipers and a Lethal Verdict
    https://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/.premium-anonymous-snipers-and-a-lethal-verdict-1.6151967

    We do not know the name of the soldier, but we do know who is in the chain of command that ordered and enabled him to kill a 21-year-old paramedic: Southern Command chief Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir. IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot. Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, both of whom approved the wording of the rules of engagement, as the High Court justices were told before they denied petitions against the shooting at protesters along the border fence.

    Despite all the testimony about civilian fatalities and horrifying injuries, the justices chose to believe what they were told in the name of the military by Avi Milikovsky, a lawyer from the State Prosecutor’s Office: The use of potentially lethal force is taken only as a last resort, in a proportionate manner and to the minimal extent required.

    Please explain how this tallies with the death of Najjar, who was treating a man injured directly by a tear-gas canister. An eyewitness told The New York Times that while the injured man was being taken to an ambulance, her colleagues were treating her because she was suffering the effects of the tear gas. Then shots were heard and Najjar fell.

    High Court Justices Esther Hayut, Hanan Melcer and Neal Hendel presented the army with an exemption from investigation and an exemption from criticism on a silver platter. In doing so, they joined the chain of command that ordered our anonymous soldier to fire at the chest of the paramedic and kill her.

    #Israel #crimes#villa_dans_la_jungle#assassins #meurtres #impunité#nos_valeurs

  • Iran’s Saegheh drone in Syria – a worry for US as well as Israel - DEBKAfile
    https://www.debka.com/iranian-saegheh-drone-syria-worry-us-well-israel

    In a long and arduous process of reverse engineering, Iran’s munitions industry copied some of the components of the CIA’s most secret stealth drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, after it was intercepted and captured over Iran in December 2011. The American drone, armed and capable of detecting clandestine nuclear tests, is rated the finest UAV of its kind in operation. Tehran claimed it had intercepted the Sentinel’s overflight by taking control of the American surveillance satellite communications which navigated the drone’s course. This was vehemently denied by Washington. At the time, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources revealed that the those responsible for the feat of bringing the secret American drone down intact were not Iranian but Chinese cyber experts.

    The Russians were keen on getting a look at the wonders of the American drone, but the Iranians refused to give them access. Eight years later, they go their chance in Syria. Iran is finally confirmed as having gained possession of the an American RQ-170, by the evidence of the Iranian drone captured by Israel. But, meanwhile, Iran, by deploying a fleet of Saegheh drones in Syria, armed with missiles, has not only ramped up its threat to Israel, but also raised a tough regional challenge to America. If one of these drones can be used against Israel, why not against American forces in the Middle East or Saudi Arabia? The Revolutionary Guards dep chief Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami made no bones about this on Saturday, when he declared that Iran had the military power “to destroy all American bases in the region.

    The Iranian stealth drone’s trajectory through Jordan on Saturday was revealing. It flew from Palmyra along Syria’s eastern frontier with Iraq undetected by American military surveillance. When it came over the US-Jordanian garrison of Al Tanf in the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle, it turned right to northern Jordan and then crossed the border to fly over Beit Shean. Ninety seconds later, Israeli Apaches conducted their interception – but not before the “Storm” had triggered the first direct military skirmish between Israel and Iran.
    Iran lost a valuable armed drone, but it was in the air long enough to gather plenty of information on the American, Jordanian and Israeli air defense and radar systems on the Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi borders, as well as reporting on their anti-air missiles’ operational capabilities. The IDF announced Sunday the boosting of its air defense systems in the North.

  • With Lebanon no longer hiding Hezbollah’s role, next war must hit civilians where it hurts, Israeli minister says
    http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.776419

    présenté comme d’habitude, et pour la énième fois, par le propagandiste Amos Harel,

    Lebanese President Michel Aoun paid an official visit to Cairo a month ago, ahead of which he gave a number of interviews to the Egyptian media. Aoun was only elected president after a long power struggle in which Iran and Hezbollah finally held sway, and he spoke about the fact that the Shi’ite organization continues to be the only Lebanese militia that refuses outright to disarm.

    Hezbollah is a significant part of the Lebanese people, Aoun explained. “As long as Israel occupies land and covets the natural resources of Lebanon, and as long as the Lebanese military lacks the power to stand up to Israel, [Hezbollah’s] arms are essential, in that they complement the actions of the army and do not contradict them,” he said, adding, “They are a major part of Lebanon’s defense.”

    Brig. Gen. Assaf Orion from the Institute for National Security Studies wrote recently that Aoun’s comments were a “lifting of the official veil and tearing off of the mask of the well-known Lebanese reality – which widely accepted Western diplomacy tends to blur. The Lebanese president abolishes the forced distinction between the ostensibly sovereign state and Hezbollah. Thus, the Lebanese president takes official responsibility for any actions by Hezbollah, including against Israel.”

    Aoun’s declaration also tallies with the facts on the ground. At a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee this past week, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the Lebanese army is now “a subsidiary unit of Hezbollah.”

    What does that mean with regard to an Israeli response against Hezbollah in case another war breaks out on the northern front? This column recently discussed the basic difficulty that faces the Israel Defense Forces in Lebanon: limited ability to deal with the threat of high-trajectory rockets directed against both the Israeli civilian population and the strategic infrastructure on the rear front. On the southern front, even though the air force lacks a proper offensive response to rockets, the missile intercept systems – chiefly the Iron Dome batteries – are enough to thwart most of the launches.

    In the north, with Hezbollah able to launch more than 1,000 rockets into Israel on a single day of fighting, the offensive solution seems partial and the defensive solution limited.

    The state comptroller’s report on the 2014 war in Gaza disappeared from the headlines within a few days, but the difficulties facing Israel in future conflicts in Gaza – and even more so in Lebanon – remain.

    At this point, it’s interesting to listen to security cabinet member Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), whose opinions the state comptroller accepted with regard to disagreements with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Hamas attack tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

    While in the political realm Bennett seems determined to create unilateral facts on the ground (i.e., settlements in the territories) even at the risk of a potential face-off with the Europeans and embarrassing the Trump administration, it seems his positions on military issues are more complex. More than once he has shown healthy skepticism over positions taken by top defense officials, and he refuses to accept their insights as indisputable conclusions.

    Hunting rocket launchers during a war is almost impossible, Bennett told Haaretz this week, adding that he says this “as someone who specialized in hunting rocket launchers.”

    During the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when he served as a reserve officer, Bennett commanded an elite unit sent deep into southern Lebanon to find Hezbollah’s rocket-launching squads.

    “When we worked in a particular area, we did reduce the teams of rocket launchers there – but they simply moved a little farther north,” Bennett related. Since then, he said, 11 years have passed and Hezbollah has learned to deploy in a more sophisticated manner. “They moved their launchers from the nature reserves, outposts in open areas, to dense urban areas [ reconnaissance éhontée d’un mensonge passé et nouveau mensonge tout aussi éhonté ]. You can’t fight rockets with tweezers. If you can’t reach the house where the launcher is, you’re not effective, and the number of houses you have to get through is enormous,” he explained.

    “After I was released from reserve duty, I read all of the books you wrote about the war,” Bennett told me. “I understood in retrospect that the fundamental event of the war took place on its first day, in a phone call between [former Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert and Condoleezza Rice.” President George W. Bush’s secretary of state had asked the prime minister not to hit Lebanon’s infrastructure, and was given a positive response. As a result, “there was no way that Israel could win the war,” Bennett said.

    “Lebanon presented itself as a country that wants quiet, that has no influence over Hezbollah,” he continued. “Today, Hezbollah is embedded in sovereign Lebanon. It is part of the government and, according to the president, also part of its security forces. The organization has lost its ability to disguise itself as a rogue group.”

    Bennett believes this should be Israel’s official stance. “The Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions, Lebanese Army bases – they should all be legitimate targets if a war breaks out. That’s what we should already be saying to them and the world now. If Hezbollah fires missiles at the Israeli home front, this will mean sending Lebanon back to the Middle Ages,” he said. “Life in Lebanon today is not bad – certainly compared to what’s going on in Syria. Lebanon’s civilians, including the Shi’ite population, will understand that this is what lies in store for them if Hezbollah is entangling them for its own reasons, or even at the behest of Iran.”

    At the same time, he notes that this is not necessarily the plan for a future war, but instead an attempt to avoid one: “If we declare and market this message aggressively enough now, we might be able to prevent the next war. After all, we have no intention of attacking Lebanon.”

    According to Bennett, if war breaks out anyway, a massive attack on the civilian infrastructure – along with additional air and ground action by the IDF – will speed up international intervention and shorten the campaign. “That will lead them to stop it quickly – and we have an interest in the war being as short as possible,” he said. “I haven’t said these things publicly up until now. But it’s important that we convey the message and prepare to deal with the legal and diplomatic aspects. That is the best way to avoid a war.”

    Bennett’s approach is not entirely new. In 2008, the head of the IDF Northern Command (and today IDF chief of staff), Gadi Eisenkot, presented the “Dahiya doctrine.” He spoke of massive damage to buildings in areas identified with Hezbollah – as was done on a smaller scale in Beirut’s Shi’ite Dahiya quarter during the 2006 war – as a means of deterring the organization and shortening the war.

    That same year, Maj. Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland proposed striking at Lebanon’s state infrastructure. To this day, though, the approach has not been adopted as Israeli policy, open or covert. Bennett’s declaration reflects an attempt by a key member of the security cabinet (albeit Netanyahu’s declared political rival) to turn it into such policy.

    The fact that Israel only tied with Hamas in Gaza in 2014 only convinced Bennett that he is right. There, too, Hamas finally agreed to a cease-fire after 50 days of fighting only after the Israel Air Force systematically destroyed the high-rise apartment buildings where senior Hamas officials lived.

    #Liban #Israel #Israel #crimes #criminels #victimes_civiles #impunité

  • Israeli Army Giving Its Soldiers a License to Kill
    Shoot to kill. Not to apprehend, not to wound. To kill. This is the ethos of the IDF 2016.

    Gideon Levy Apr 14, 2016
    Haaretz - Israel News Haaretz.com
    http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.714471

    IDF soldiers are called on to kill Palestinian children. Kill, soldiers, kill. Nothing bad will happen to you if you tear the body of a fleeing Palestinian teenager to shreds by firing three bullets at him from short range – your commanders and Yair Lapid will cheer you. Shoot the stone throwers with no fear, shoot anyone suspicious, as long as he’s Palestinian.
    Don’t get me wrong – shoot to kill. Not to apprehend, not to wound. To kill. The mythological order “follow me” in its new meaning is ‘follow me to kill children; follow me to murder.’ This is the ethos of the IDF 2016.
    The rules of engagement are updated accordingly. What is permitted to the Binyamin Division commander is permitted to any soldier. The division commander sets the example. Therefore, let the executioner from Hebron be released immediately.
    After the incredible decision of the Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek to close the case of Col. Yisrael Shomer, there’s no longer any point to continue the farce of investigating the Hebron executioner.
    The IDF is shamelessly issuing licenses to kill signed by the Military Advocate General. There’s no longer any need to deceive the public with absurd legal procedures against a minor military paramedic, while the division commander, an executioner like him, has been declared innocent. That which is allowed to Jove (Jupiter) is allowed to an ox (mortals).

  • 3 senior commanders detained over stopping of MİT trucks, reports say
    http://www.todayszaman.com/national_3-senior-commanders-detained-over-stopping-of-mi-t-trucks-repo

    According to Turkish media reports, Ankara Gendarmerie Regional Commander Maj. Gen. İbrahim Aydın and former Adana Gendarmerie Regional Commander Brig. Gen. Hamza Celepoğlu and former Gendarmerie Criminal Laboratory head, retired Col. Burhanettin Cihangiroğlu, were detained on Saturday.

    In January 2014, gendarmes stopped three Syria-bound trucks in the southern provinces of Adana and Hatay, after prosecutors received tip-offs that the vehicles were illegally carrying arms to armed organizations in Syria.

    The government quickly dismissed claims at the time that the trucks intercepted and searched by the Turkish military by order of prosecutors in Adana had any weapons. Current Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was foreign minister at the time, asserted that the cargo was humanitarian aid destined for embattled Syrian Turkmens on the other side of the border.

    Testimonials by gendarmerie intelligence officers involved in the interception confirmed, however, that the shipment’s destination was not an area with any Turkmens. The Syrian destination, as disclosed by the drivers, was often a target for reconnaissance by Turkish military personnel who secured the border.

    Moreover, the gendarmes said, the area was populated by radical groups.

    Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials called the 2014 investigation of the MİT trucks “treason and espionage” on the part of the prosecutors because the trucks were claimed to be transporting humanitarian aid to Bayır-Bucak Turkmens, and a case was filed against those involved in the investigation.

    An indictment, which was approved by the Tarsus High Criminal Court in July, seeks a life sentence for Adana Chief Public Prosecutor Süleyman Bağrıyanık, former Adana Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Karaca and Adana prosecutors Aziz Takçı and Özcan Şişman, as well as Gendarmerie Commander Col. Özkan Çokay, who were involved in the probe.

  • Le Courant du Futur refait mai 2008, un coup de force politique pas du tout improvisé, Siniora à la manœuvre, avec risque d’escalade grave – mais une chose est certaine, le 14 Mars va à nouveau se poser en victime (politique de l’« humiliation » feinte).

    Aoun threatens action against term extension : FPM sources
    http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2015/Aug-06/309933-aoun-threatens-action-against-term-extension-fpm-sources.ashx

    Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun has reportedly criticized Defense Minister Samir Moqbel’s abrupt decision to keep the country’s top Army generals in their posts, while his movement threatened to take escalatory steps against the decision.

    FPM sources said in comments published Thursday by Al-Akhbar newspaper that the bloc had no prior knowledge that Moqbel intended to extend the generals’ terms “because [chances] of reaching a deal and amending the Defense Law were still being debated.”

    The sources warned that the FPM would carry out a “major escalation” against the extension, adding that Aoun will not back down although they did not elaborate on what type of escalatory steps they would take.

    Seven soldiers and 17 protesters were wounded near the Grand Serail in Downtown Beirut last month in a scuffle between the Lebanese Army and FPM supporters protesting the government ignoring the FPM’s demand to prioritize the issue of security and military appointments.

    Aoun has been pressing the government to appoint new military and security chiefs. He was also lobbying for his son-in-law Brig. Gen. Shamel Roukoz to be appointed Army commander.

    Al-Akhbar quoted high-ranking Future Movement sources as saying that the current regional and international political situation does not allow Aoun to have any share in the Army nor in the presidency, and instead seek to diminish his political weight.

    The sources added that the Future Movement has proceeded with the decision after a flurry of contacts Wednesday with MP Walid Jumblatt, former President Michel Sleiman, MP Sami Gemayel, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

    The decision also came after a Future Movement meeting was held following Wednesday’s Cabinet session and before the Hezbollah-Future talks at Berri’s Ain al-Tineh residence, according to the report. The meeting was attended by Future bloc head Fouad Siniora, Deputy Prime Minister Farid Makari and former MP Ghattas Khoury.

  • Ex-Saddam Baathists unite in Ninevah campaign - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/06/iraq-mosul-takeover-factions-isis-baath-party.html

    The Baath Party, which ruled Iraq from 1968 until 2003, was divided into several factions. The two most prominent — that of Izzat al-Douri, the second strongman after Saddam and the deputy chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, and the faction of Brig. Gen. Mohammad Younes al-Ahmad, who assumed many positions in Saddam’s government — had fallen into a fierce dispute in 2006.

    The dispute became of paramount importance after Ahmad split from Douri and called for a review of Saddam’s era. The Baath Party member, however, affirms that both factions found their chance with ISIS entering Ninevah after they hit rock bottom.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/06/iraq-mosul-takeover-factions-isis-baath-party.html

  • Au Liban, urbanisme et toponymie enrôlés au service de la territorialisation politique - ici à Tripoli
    New public park named after martyr Wissam al-Hasan | News , Local News | THE DAILY STAR
    http://dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2013/Jun-06/219607-new-public-park-named-after-martyr-wissam-al-hasan.ashx#axzz2VQ

    New public park named after martyr Wissam al-Hasan
    June 06, 2013 01:35 AM
    By Antoine Amrieh
    The Daily Star
    The park, with dozens of citrus trees and date palms and 60 varieties of flowers, provides a much-needed green space for the city.
    The park, with dozens of citrus trees and date palms and 60 varieties of flowers, provides a much-needed green space for the city.
    A+ A-

    TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Tripoli’s municipality inaugurated Wednesday a public park named after the late Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan, as the former head of the Internal Security Forces said progress was being made in the investigation into the assassination. Speaking during the event, held on the occasion of World Environment Day, retired Gen. Ashraf Rifi said that the investigation into Hasan’s case had achieved significant progress.

    “I know most of [the results reached] ... those who committed the crime are professionals, but the investigators are also professionals and the criminal will brought to justice,” he added.

    Hasan, who headed the ISF Information Branch, was killed in a car blast in Beirut last October.

    Touching on the deteriorating security situation in Tripoli, Rifi said the state and Army should protect the people of Lebanon’s second city.

    “The Lebanese state, represented by the Army and Internal Security Forces along with civil institutions, should strive to guarantee the safety of [Tripoli’s] people,” Rifi said.

    Relative calm prevailed in Tripoli Wednesday after six were killed and 41 wounded in clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The city has seen similar rounds of violence, which has killed dozens of people since Syria’s uprising began in March 2011.

    “Be confident that there is an international decision in place to protect the country from the repercussions of the conflicts in the region and we Lebanese should work relentlessly to protect this country,” Rifi said.

    The more-than-18,000-square-meter park in Hasan’s name was hailed as a much-needed boost for a city that is suffering from violence as well as environmental degradation.

    Jalal Halwani, the head of the Parks and Environment Department of Tripoli’s municipality, spoke of a sad state of affairs in a city “which in 1932 was a leader in supplying fresh water to its residents; and today, its underground sources of water are saline and polluted.”

    “It was one of the cleanest cities, and now it has become dirty due to a lack of environmental awareness,” he said.

    “But despite the gloomy situation of the environment and the security in Tripoli, we decided to inaugurate a park today to create hope and out of our appreciation [of Hasan],” he said.

    Halwani added that the municipality of Tripoli had chosen to name the public garden after Hasan, who the city’s residents admired and considered one of their own.

  • Man behind Israeli report on infamous killing of Mohammed al-Dura has right-wing ties - National Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/man-behind-israeli-report-on-infamous-killing-of-mohammed-al-dura-has-right

    The man behind a recent government report calling into question Israel’s responsibility for the iconic death of a Palestinian boy at the start of the second intifada worked for a right-wing group that sought to prevent the reporter who broke the story from continuing to work in Israel.

    Brig. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, the director general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry, was employed by Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center, which has pressed the Supreme Court to revoke the press passes of French journalist Charles Enderlin and his employer, the France 2 television network, for alleged ethical violations in reporting the incident. The report does not fully disclose this information, despite mentioning Enderlin. Further, it does not include the testimony of the only Israeli official to say the army fired on the boy and is unclear about the nature of the committee that wrote it.

  • For Israel’s last military attaché in Tehran, ’Argo’ is kids’ stuff -

    Haaretz

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/for-israel-s-last-military-attache-in-tehran-argo-is-kids-stuff.premium-1.5

    For Israel’s last military attaché in Tehran, ’Argo’ is kids’ stuff
    As revolution raged, Brig. Gen. (ret.) Itzhak Segev helped lead 32 other Israelis to safety.

    Un point de vue israélien sur la révolution iranienne de 1979. Et sur les absurdités du film Argos La fin des relations privilégiées entre Israël et l’Iran